From Mike Sullivan, for About.com
The Bottom Line
Entertainment Weekly recently rated Mystic River one of the Top 5 books of the past 25 years. The Given Day could be considered even better in the next 25.
New York Times Bestselling author, Dennis Lehane, Boston writer of modern tragedies like River and Gone Baby, Gone, enters a new realm of literature with his first historical fiction, The Given Day. While the setting is 1918, the story writhes with a modern twist of emotion, fears and striving humanity.
- Lehane talent for human characterization ignites again
- The city of Boston before the Roaring 20s is a broiling urban jungle
- Political schemes, foreign terrorists, city riots...Then is now.
- Lehane modern tongue sometimes distracts from the story for a moment, rather than enhancing it.
- 'The Given Day' by Dennis Lehane was released September 23, 2008.
- Publisher: WilliamMorrow
- 720 Pages
Guide Review - 'The Given Day' by Dennis Lehane - Book Review
Irish family heritage, African American trials, foreign socialist agendas, high society greed. Lehane reaches with a wild, yet controlled arm to capture the scope of his ambitious first historical fiction. Within this tale, he asks and shapes relevant questions: How well has America integrated? Is it truly the land of opportunity for all? Who protects the people? Is safety in a nation, a city, a union or in a family?
In The Given Day, Lehane focuses on two main characters in the midst of a city’s worth of relationships and connections. Luther Laurence is an African American blue-collar worker who leaves his wife and unborn child to find work in Boston after a murderous encounter with a drug dealer. Danny Coughlin is an Irish Boston police officer who joins a union as he sees department salaries and rights diminished even as the BPD tries to protect the city from the uprisings of foreign terrorists. When Luther’s and Danny’s worlds collide, they will fight to hold onto what they love even as the city around them grows in hate.
To give the reader a taste of what’s come, Lehane turns the introduction into a classic story within a story. The reader first encounters Luther in a surprise meeting with Babe Ruth on a baseball diamond, when two races on two teams play America’s pastime. By featuring Ruth at the beginning and returning to him throughout the novel, Lehane interweaves the larger than life legend, who broke through class barriers and instigated the nation’s greatest rivalry with his trade from the Red Sox to the Yankees, to solidify The Given Day as a story as intrinsic to America as baseball.